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Posts Tagged ‘Balkh

Balkh: Medium-term plan 1 (part 29 and 30)

Posted on November 28, 2008

Note: This fiction novel conjectured that a Persian Prince had indeed defeated the Macedonian Alexander, adopted his name and integrated Alexander army for grabbing the power of the Persian Empire and expand his territories.

The First Queen of the Son-God Incarnate Artax was from a district located in the north-western parts of the Empire, in Mazar Al Shareef and close to the current Central Asian States; she was not at all friendly with the usurping Monarch.

Artax made his move to establish a presence in the city of Balkh, a center for learning and commerce in north Afghanistan and close to the Central Asian Estates. He dispatched his wife, clandestinely, to her home district along with countable numbers of security officers and a regiment of the army clothed as civilians in a routine caravan trip.

She was to re-affirm the loyalty of her people and exhort youth to travel east and join Artax army. 

Antrax demanded from the Queen never to be guarded by more than 6 formal soldiers and 12 soldiers in civilian attires, as front and rear guards, during her displacement throughout the district because the smaller the number of personal guards the more confidence she would convey to her people.

The Monarch told the Queen: “Good impressions are worth an entire division of an army.”

Southern Desert: Medium-term plan 2

One of his liked viziers named Khorsheed and from the southern desert region of the Empire, expressed the desire to return home and investigate the possibility of securing a base there.

The vizier was dispatched to his district, accompanied with a security officer and another regiment.  The same strategy of taking firm hold of parts of the Kingdom in every direction ensured destroying the capacity of the usurping “Magnificent Khosro” to focus and concentrate his forces at one area.

In order to maintain presence in the desert region, frequent supplies were to be delivered from the sea.  Consequently, it was necessary to navigate the Indus River and secure a port and ships.

The town of Deb was then the ideal port.  Two old merchant ships were purchased and refurbished to play the dual task of supply and soldier carrier tanker: it was essential never to mix business with military exigencies.

The refurbished ships were not meant to belong within the business unit.  These small ships received the order to just reconnoiter the Persian sea shores for unusually military and trade activities for advanced intelligence. They also had the mission to listen to the complaints of the suffering villages and towns on the shore.

Two larger merchant ships were secured in the process of taking to the sea, as back up resources and the landing of a whole regiment if needed.

Kandahar: Medium-term plan 3

At the city of Kandahar, in south central current Afghanistan, Artax appointed a women officer to be General in Chief of all the armed forces in southern Afghanistan. This tactic secured two major benefits;

First, the woman general would hold fast to the new system that secured and solidified women rights, and

Second she would allow the force the necessary time to strengthen its grip on the region:  the enemy was assumed not to take that seriously a force headed by a woman and thus insure valuable time to taking hold on the mind of the population.

Slowly but surely, the vision and planning of Artax were materializing in flesh and bones around the perimeter of the Persian Empire.

As for the “pilgrimage journey” to China, Artax selected the famous chronicle Battouga to discover the wonders of China and to dispatch him the diaries: if Artax could not experience in the flesh the discoveries then Artax would share the excitement by the mind.

Marco Polo and before him Ibn Battouta (at least 8 centuries later) relied heavily on the manuscript of Battouga to plan for their famous journeys to the Rising Sun China.

On the Southern Army

The adventure of the Southern Army of Artax, led by the vizier Khorsheed, was fantastic.  This brave army made a series of successful landings in fishing villages and proceeded according to master plans.

Soldiers would enter a town, plaster the scrolls of the Constitution and Bill of Rights on the walls of shrines and local institutions, read them in front of the public; install one judge accepted by the inhabitants then horde the other judges and clerics to a remote training camp for indoctrination.

Educated and learned people in the community were encouraged to disseminate the new system. 

Young boys and girls were sent to schools.  People bent on mischief and who took advantage of a confused central authority was apprehended to give evidence of who is the real authority in maintaining law and order.

Dangerous news arrived to Artax from his Southern Army which stopped his grandiose plans on their tracks: unless Artax assembles a strong naval force in the Persian Gulf, his Southern Army might not hold its terrain against the onslaught of the usurping Monarch.

This vast desert area along the coast requires constant supply of fresh water and food for his army that was dying of thirst and heat strokes. Artax had to advance along the Indus River which empties in the Indian Ocean.

He had to hire and stock enough ships to rescue the Southern Army or eventually to evacuate it honorably in an orderly fashion.

The lousy desert parts of his Kingdom were of no concerns to Artax anymore, though he had to support his army there in order to divert the forces of the usurping Monarch from the more critical parts of his secured bases in the Kingdom.

The rear bases of Artax stretched from the fertile lands of current Karachi in Pakistan to Goa in India.   

Artax messengers were carrying orders and instructions to all armies and governors along secured routes.  In every region that the King authority was entrenched, municipal elections were held and the spirit of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were disseminated, gradually but surely.

Changes in societies need time, patience and genuine zeal in convictions to make any headway.

Artax primary duties to his people was to keep close contacts, involvement, and interactions with the institutions and taking close attention to the training camps programs for the reeducation of the newer generations as to the spirit of the articles in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The dissemination of information about the new cultures in remote lands was a most important ingredient in Artax educational system. 

Artax motto was: ignorance and isolation from other civilizations is the drug of choice exploited by the religious extremists who abhor civil supervision of any governing body.

10 Ancient Cities Where People Still Live

MICHAEL VAN DUISEN APRIL 8, 2014

Even though much that links us to their founding years is gone, cities that reach back to the earliest human civilizations retain an undeniable allure. These 10 examples include some of the oldest cities in history, and people still call each one of them home.

10Ife (Nigeria)
Founded circa 350 B.C.

01

Photo credit: Tropenmuseum

The Yoruba people consider Ife the mythical birthplace of mankind. Two of their deities are said to have created the first humans out of clay, with one of them becoming the first king of the Yoruba.

By the 11th century, the city had become the capital of a kingdom, with its residents producing the region’s famed terra-cotta heads during the following two centuries.

Nearly destroyed as a result of a late 18th-century war, as well as by decades of trauma related to the slave trade, Ife is now home to one of Nigeria’s major universities, as well as the Historical Society of Nigeria. In addition, the spiritual leader of the Yoruba people, known as the Ooni, lives in a palace in the center of the city. Ife now has over 600,000 residents.

9Balkh (Afghanistan)
Founded circa 500 B.C.

02
Known as Bactra (Bactria) in its pre-Afghan days, the city of Balkh was the capital of the Greek territory of Bactria after its capture by Alexander the Great.

After several invaders conquered the city, it eventually became the capital of Khorasan, a political entity created by the Sasanian Empire of Iran. It was under their rule that Balkh became famous as a center of learning, earning itself the title “mother of cities.” In addition, the Zoroastrian religion is said to have been founded there.

Most of the city was destroyed during an invasion by Genghis Khan in the 13th century. It lay in ruins until the early 15th century, and the city is more of a village today, with a population of only a few thousand. But a handful of the original buildings have survived, including a number of ancient Buddhist reliquary mounds and the outer walls of the city.

Khorasan was the origin of the warriors who played big roles in deposing Caliphs in Baghdad.

8Luoyang (China)
Founded circa 1050 B.C.

03

Photo credit: Gary Lee Todd

One of the 8 Great Ancient Capitals of China, Luoyang was founded in the middle of the 11th century, at the start of the Zhou Dynasty.

In fact, 9 different dynasties, stretching over centuries, have used Luoyang as their capital. Unfortunately, the city underwent a great economic depression that lasted from a revolution in the eighth century up until the middle of the 1900s. Assistance from the USSR and industrialization brought Luoyang back from the dead.

One of the greatest architectural and spiritual treasures in the city is the White Horse Temple, the “cradle of Buddhism in China.” Built during the first century A.D., it was the first of up to 1,300 different temples, as Luoyang became the spiritual center for Buddhism in China.

In addition, the city is home to the Longmen Grottoes, a series of Buddhist caves that is a UNESCO heritage site and one of the masterpieces of Chinese Buddhist art.

7Patras (Greece)
Founded circa 1100 B.C.

04

Photo credit: Conudrum/Wikimedia

While evidence says people lived in the area as far back as the third millennium B.C., Patras as an actual city didn’t begin until about 1,000 years later.

Three small settlements existed in the area and remained there for hundreds of years, until the Achaeans, and the eponymous Patreus, combined them into one large city and named it Patras.

Relatively insignificant for much of its early existence, the city later became a major part of the founding of the second Achaean League, a confederation of various Greek city-states.

Thanks to its location by the sea, Patras played a huge role in Greek trade, even up to modern times. Unfortunately, very few buildings have survived from its early history, with the oldest surviving example being the Patras Roman Odeum, a small theater built by the Romans sometime in the early second century.

There is also a prehistoric acropolis, known as the Wall of Dymaeans, dating back to the 14th century B.C. It is said to have been built by Heracles himself.

6Kutaisi (Georgia)
Founded circa 1400 B.C.

05

Photo credit: Andrzej Wójtowicz

Among the oldest and largest cities in the nation of Georgia, Kutaisi was the capital of multiple ancient kingdoms, most notably Colchis from the sixth to first century B.C. That kingdom is perhaps best known for being the final destination of Jason and his Argonauts during their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Afterward, the city and the area around it suffered numerous invasions, including by the Mongolians and the Ottomans.

In the 12th century, during the reign of David IV, Kutaisi became the capital of the United Kingdom of Georgia and underwent a period of construction unrivaled in its history.

This time saw the construction of the Gelati Monastery, one of the most famous buildings in the city and a great example of medieval Georgian architecture. Remarkably well preserved, it is one of Georgia’s UNESCO heritage sites.

5Tyre (Lebanon)
Founded circa 2750 B.C.

06

Photo credit: Heretiq/Wikimedia

An ancient Phoenician port city, with a large number of mythical occurrences to its name, Tyre has seen its fair share of historical action as well.

Extremely prosperous thanks to its ideal location, the city was besieged by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, who unsuccessfully tried to conquer it over the course of 13 years. However, Tyre did fall to the army assembled by Alexander the Great, which resulted in most of the buildings being razed to the ground.

It was here (or perhaps nearby Sidon) that people were first able to create dye with a purple pigment, leading the Greeks to call them Phoinikes, which means “purple people” and is where we get the name “Phoenician.”

One of the most important Phoenician cities, Tyre used to be an island, but Alexander the Great demolished buildings to create a causeway linking it to the mainland. Now known as Sour in the country of Lebanon, the city is home to many significant ancient Roman sites, including the second-century hippodrome, one of the largest existing in the world.

4Sidon (Saida, Lebanon)
Founded circa 3000 B.C.

07

Photo credit: Heretiq/Wikimedia

Derived from the Greek word for “fishery,” Sidon was an ancient Phoenician port city and is famous for its fishing and trade industries, as well as its glass manufacturing—the Greek author Homer had a lot of praise for the people of Sidon when it came to that specific fact.

Like its sister city Tyre, Sidon was captured by Alexander the Great, yet it was spared complete destruction because it surrendered without a fight.

Commanded by multiple kingdoms, Sidon flourished under Ottoman rule, though it has been ravaged and rebuilt multiple times. One of the oldest pieces of architecture in the city is the Temple of Eshmun, dedicated to the Phoenician god of healing and dating back to the seventh century B.C.

3Argos (Greece)
Founded circa 5000 B.C.

08
Perhaps the oldest city in Europe, Argos was originally a Greek city-state.

Thanks to its bountiful natural resources in the fertile lowlands known as the Plain of Argos, the city rose to prominence during the Mycenaean period at the end of the second millennium B.C.

In fact, until Sparta’s rise, Argos was the dominant city-state of the region.

Unlike many of its Greek partners, Argos flourished under Roman and Byzantine rule, as evidenced by the monumental civic works undertaken during these eras. The city and surrounding area played a huge role in Greek mythology, with the heroes Perseus, Diomedes, and Agamemnon believed to have been born there.

The present city of Argos is built over much of the ancient city, with very little architecture remaining from its early years.

The ruins of the Heraion of Argos, a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Hera, form probably the oldest existing structure in the area, dating back to the seventh century B.C.

2Byblos (Jbeil, Lebanon)
Founded circa 6000 B.C.

09

Photo credit: BlingBling10/Wikimedia

The oldest existing Phoenician city, Byblos was home to much scientific and technological advancement during its existence.

Historians credited it as the place where the Phoenician alphabet was conceived, and the city’s name derives from the Greek word for “paper,” a major export.

Byblos was burned to the ground near the end of the third millennium B.C. by invading Amorites, yet traces of that period still exist.

Originally, Byblos was an Egyptian protectorate, supplying crucial timber and other goods in exchange for protection. By the 11th century B.C., it was independent and became Phoenician territory. It remained relatively important for much of its existence, first losing its importance as capital of Phoenicia to Tyre and then fading to obscurity just after the Crusades.

The present-day city of Jbail, Lebanon is partially built on the ruins of much of Byblos, with the remaining ruins being designated a UNESCO heritage site.

1Jericho (Tell es-Sultan, Palestine)
Founded circa 9000 B.C.

10
Perhaps the oldest (and currently the lowest by altitude) city in the history of humanity, Jericho is located in the West Bank, just past the northern half of the Dead Sea.

Thanks to a spring that supplies the area with extremely fertile soil, Jericho made a great place for early hunter-gatherers to settle down and begin domesticating animals.

After about 2,000 years of loosely being considered a city, Jericho’s first walls were erected, forming the earliest known example of urban fortifications.

Known as Tell es-Sultan in its early days, Jericho flourished for many years before being completely destroyed by nomadic tribes toward the end of the second millennium B.C.

Fire destroyed it again a few hundred years later. The modern city of Jericho comprises part of this ancient area, as well as space that used to be out of Tell es-Sultan’s city limits. Jericho was also said to be home to many spiritual events from Judaism and Christianity.

Note 1: From a link on FB Pamela Hakim via Ama Sadaka

Note 2: Most of the city-states on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea are still inhabited since antiquity.  Ashkelon, Akka, Yafa, Haifa, Beirut, Tripoli, Tartous….

Probably, Damascus is the oldest city that has been inhabited since mankind civilization. Most of the trade caravans ended in Damascus, to span in smaller caravans. Aleppo is also another of the oldest of cities, and Jarash in Jordan and Jerusalem.

Balkh: Medium-term plan 1

(fiction, ch. 29)

The First Queen of the Son-God Incarnate Artax was from a district located in the north-eastern parts of the Empire, in Mazar Al Shareef and close to the current Central Asian States; she was not at all friendly with the usurping Monarch.

Artax made his move to establishing a presence in the city of Balkh, a center for learning and commerce in north Afghanistan and close to the Central Asian Estates. He dispatched his wife, clandestinely, to her home district along with countable numbers of security officers and a regiment of the army clothed as civilians in a routine caravan trip.

She was to re-affirm the loyalty of her people and exhort youth to travel east and join Artax army.  He ordered the Queen never to be guarded by more than 6 formal soldiers and 12 soldiers in civilian attires as front and rear guards during her displacement throughout the district because the smaller the number of personal guards the more confidence she would convey to her people.

The Monarch told the Queen: “Good impressions are worth an entire division of an army.”

Southern Desert: Medium-term plan 2

One of his liked viziers named Khorsheed and from the southern desert like parts of the Empire, expressed the desire to return home and investigate the possibility of securing a base there.

The vizier was dispatched to his district, accompanied with a security officer and another regiment.  The same strategy of taking firm hold of parts of the Kingdom in every direction ensured destroying the capacity of the usurping “Magnificent Khosro” to focus and concentrate his forces at one area.

In order to maintain presence in the desert region, frequent supplies were to be delivered from the sea.  Consequently, it was necessary to navigate the Indus River and secure a port and ships.

The town of Deb was then the ideal port.  Two old merchant ships were purchased and refurbished to play the dual task of supply and soldier carrier tanker: it was essential never to mix business with military exigencies.

The refurbished ships were not meant to belong within the business unit.  These small ships received the order to just reconnoiter the Persian sea shores for unusually military and trade activities for advanced intelligence; they also had the mission to listen to the complaints of the suffering villages and towns on the shore.

Two larger merchant ships were secured in the process of taking to the sea as back up resources and the landing of a whole regiment if needed.


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